There are over 95 million people around the world that speak German as their primary language. The language is the official language of six countries, all of which are located in Europe. The most populous country where German is the official language is Germany. Germany has a total of more than 81 million people. Of this total population, 91.8% speak German as their native language. This is over 74 million people. About 5.6 million people speak German as their second language.
The six countries that have German as their official language, in alphabetical order, are: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Over 78% of the world’s total German speakers live in Germany. Over 8% live in Austria, more than 5% reside in Austria, less than 1% live in Italy, and more than 7% live in other countries.
In addition to the six German-speaking countries, there are several dependent entities that have German as an official language. These regions are the Autonomous Province of South Tyrol in Italy, the Opole Voivodeship and Silesian Voivodeship in Poland, and the Espirito Santo, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. German is also considered a co-official language under Slovak law in the villages of Krahule/Blaufuss and Kunesov/Kuneschhau.
Although it isn’t an official language in some countries, German is used as a cultural or minority language in several countries worldwide. These countries are:
- Brazil, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- Romania, Russia